Price tag to fix Oak Park parking garage: $750,000


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Five years ago, Oak Park Village Hall spent $13.4 million to expand a local public parking garage, as part of the Whiteco apartment tower on Harlem. The addition was supposed to last for decades, but it's already cracking; and it will now cost some $750,000 to patch up the Holley Court Garage according to a consultant's estimate.

It was back in September that the village first noticed cracks forming in the west expansion of the garage. So village hall hired a consultant (Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates) shortly after, and since then has paid the company some $60,000 to figure out what's gone wrong, and to devise a fix.

WJE discovered that part of the top level is "severely cracked." And its report states that "paint existed on a portion of the vertical surface of the crack, suggesting that the crack had developed prior to or at the same time the structure was painted."

Fixing the structure will cost upwards of $750,000, according to a preliminary report sent to the village in February and obtained by Wednesday Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request.

That price tag doesn't include the cost for WJE to design the repairs and oversee the work, according to the report.

Oak Park paid for the expansion of the garage, sending the money to Whiteco Residential, which hired a construction company to build it. Village President David Pope said Monday that he's confident the developers will pay for the repairs, as they've been very "responsive and accommodating" in addressing the situation.

A call to Tim Connelly, the head of Whiteco, on Monday was not returned. The cracking and crumbling of the garage constitutes a breach of contract by Whiteco, according to Assistant Village Attorney Simone Boutet, and village hall believes it has legal remedies if the developer refuses to repair the structure.

It's too early to say what, exactly, caused the cracks to start forming in the garage, said Steve Witt, director of the Building and Property Standards Department and a trained structural engineer. Preliminarily, it appears there may have been an error in the architectural drawings. He said there's no reason a five-year-old garage should be cracking so soon after being built.

"I think it's still premature to point the finger at exactly what happened," Witt said. "I think the report starts to go in that direction, but until all the facts are in, I don't think it's prudent to start pointing fingers at this point."

Village hall is currently waiting for Whiteco to respond to WJE's suggestions, Witt said. In the meantime, the village is paying the consultant to inspect the Holley Court garage twice a month, and to design "temporary shoring" at 10 different spots in the structure. Some 120 parking spaces in the 1,213-space garage have been shut down to the public while the repairs are taking place.

Greg Marsey, a village trustee from 2003 to 2007, who campaigned against the Whiteco tower, worries that cracking seen at the garage is only "a layer of the onion." He speculated that costs to fix Holley Court might balloon far above the initial $750,000 estimate.

"I think, realistically, you're going to have to double that number, and I think it's outrageous," Marsey said. "Construction estimates are never accurate initially, and there are always cost overruns."

Reader Comments

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Oakgrove from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2011 10:57 AM

@David Pope -- it's easy for the powers that be to list their names on their comments. They aren't the ones who are demonized and sought after by Ray Heise and other village employees! David, for being so nontransparent you are so transparent in this regard it's laughable!!

OP Resident  

Posted: April 8th, 2011 10:08 AM

I don't get why David Pope doesn't get it. He wants people to post comments using their real names but will not address how his office will protect the citizen from retaliation. That's a big concern. I previously detailed how the Village Attorney conducted a search of Village records in an effort to gather information about the person who wrote a letter that was critical of the Law Department. There's currently no policy that addresses the issue & would likely be impossible to monitor & enforce

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 4:47 PM

@ Mr. Barsotti - just an fyi that I only post using my name and have Never posted anything on this forum anonymously. Can you honestly say the same, Mr. Barsotti? Btw, feel free to request my history of comments from WJ (which I'm completely fine with them releasing). How about you Mr. Barsotti? Would you do the same?

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 4:45 PM

@ Enuf - Re: the 30-year citation, it actually comes from a discussion a couple years ago with the construction project manager who built the garage. I apologize for the delay in responding, but I had wanted to pull out the Desman study to cross reference but haven't been able to get into the office to grab it (I've been home on and off with a sick 4-year-old which, btw Mr. Barsotti, has been a factor in enabling me to track this discussion more closely than I otherwise could).

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 4:44 PM

@ Enuf - Thanks for your post. I agree with your comment that this anonymous posting issue is ultimately a question for WJ. I've obviously stated my position that I think it undermines responsible public discussion and on balance is negative for our community. Perhaps if they hear that from others as well, they might rethink their position.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 2:28 PM

St. Patrick's Day was a great day for the VMA and a poor one for good Gov in OP. At Village Hall, the PlanCom ended its Comcast hearing. PlanCom dominated by VMA members and led by 2 officers of the political club had won. At the Buzz Cafe, the moderator of the election forum refused questions about Comcast. Later Buzz VMA'ers met at the Village Hall Board Table and celebrated with PlanCom members. They all left in high spirits to party. Great night for politics. Bad night for open OP Gov't.


Posted: April 5th, 2011 1:49 PM

AND he surfaces. Good to see you Mr Barsotti. Did you VOTE today?

David Barsotti  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 1:26 PM

@Pope, you have a lot of time on your hands given that you have posted over 20% of the comments in this forum, not to mention the anonymous ones you might have posted. You posted more than anyone else. You have repeatedly said that the Lake and Forest garage was to last only 30 years, but you have yet to provide any report that supports you claim. What engineering report shows the Lake and Forest garage was only to last 30 years. Also, how long is the Holley Court garage going to last?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 7:38 AM

@Pope ... your comments need to be directed to WJ who hosts this online forum. I have seen other online media forums which require registration & verification, as well as being moderated to filter out inappropriate comments. Until WJ includes these practices, anonymity needs to prevail for most. My initial question was simply; what is your source to substantiate your claim that the L/F Garage has only a 30-year service life? Your claim is contrary to the village report from Desman Assoc. (2002).

OP Resident  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 6:34 AM

Well said David. Now TODAY is election day, so please get out there and VOTE for Johnson, Salzman and Tucker. Experience Oak Park can depend on!

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 12:15 AM

(cont'd.) Finally, I'm well aware that I'm not perfect. Knowing what I know now, there are certainly some things that I'd do differently. Similarly, The Village Board and Village staff sometimes make mistakes, and we all would readily admit that. On balance, though, I feel very positive about the capability and commitment of people at all levels throughout Village government. These folks work hard to do their best for you, and when they do slip up they want to learn from that and do better.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 12:14 AM

(cont'd.) If you want to have responsible people run for these positions (and if you're not willing to run yourself), then you can't just attack them all the time. Also, the elected officials of all six of our local governing bodies, due to their roles, have more relevant information on many of these issues than your average comment poster. Every once in a while it might be worth giving them the benefit of the doubt. That's not to say they should get a free pass. They shouldn't. cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 12:13 AM

(cont'd.) In terms of my role, I accept and welcome that it is part of the responsibility of the Village President, and all elected officials, to get shot at periodically (and sometimes more often than that). Nonetheless, some comments go beyond that to the point of character assassination - employing libelous words (e.g. "corrupt" and "kick-back"). A series of such posts aimed at my Board colleagues back in January was what led me to post my first comment in years on these pages. cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2011 12:12 AM

@ Interesting - It's not about having an "enemies list", but rather about knowing to whom you're talking, and ensuring that other readers know as well (so they can assess respective credibility). I expect you understand this as, in another comment, you (or some other "Interesting") questioned John Hubbuch's motivation for supporting the referendum, citing info about his family. But I ask you, is that really fair if readers don't know anything about your background/motives (given your anonymity)?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 9:28 PM

Well said Mr. Murtagh. I wouldn't have believed it until I saw it firsthand in action.

Brian Lantz  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 5:46 PM

Mr. Pope. I couldn't agree with you more than your comment on including names with posts. Thank you. Many real estate projects run into problems, this is no exception. The project developer should be held accountable - that's what they have insurance for. Please continue to hold their feet to the fire as any good partner/manager.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 5:32 PM

I think you are wrong, OP#1. The folks you cited have all posted coments using their real names. Only David Pope knows the real culprits and he's not talking. I wonder if this isn't a case of someone having suspicions but not the facts to set the record straight. Again, I'll say that I am not actively involved in any political campaign.

Interesting from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 5:09 PM

I'm just reading this site because of interest in referendum, but I must state that I'm kind of shocked by the thin skin exhibited by Mr. Pope and others. It's like he wants an "enemies list" - and we all know how THAT worked out for a former president. I actually think, though, that his and RJohnson's tenure on the board, which I believe is the modern record (VMA or not) is part of the "problem" here. Just my 2 cents worth.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 4:57 PM

I have observed many personal attacks on individuals in this forum that have even included their family. Until the WJ provides a safe environment for public discourse, it will remain a verbally abusive arena, where anonymity is the only sensible option for those who choose not to become victims. Pope's insinuation that "WJ can easily verify via email/IP-tracking" is a threat to 'outing' the anonymous, which brings up some interesting 1st Amendment free speech issues for both him and the WJ.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 4:22 PM

The problems in OP are not caused by WJ posters, named or anonymous. It is the fault of the OP government practices that disdain interactions with the residents if not on board terms, uses intermediates to influence projects & developments, and claims moral high ground while frequently dealing from the bottom of the deck. To blame posters for your communication challenges is a travesty. Posters lack the power and influence to force govt transparency. They have a right to point it out though.

Marty J. Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 3:55 PM

Not this reporter.


Posted: April 4th, 2011 3:51 PM

Maybe it could be David Barsotti, Les Golden or Greg Marsey? I also think it is the article writers that chime in with out their real names or other WJ staffers?


Posted: April 4th, 2011 3:46 PM

I don't have any real beefs with the Village. I am content at the moment. If I was to use this forum to "Whine" or "Complain" then by all means I should use my real name. I wouldn't use this forum as my means of dialogue. I would actually contact the board member's directly and communicate one on one with out the peanut gallery that Les "enuf is enuf" likes.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 3:46 PM

I appreciate David Pope responding to my posts but would prefer he address his claim that he knows that "two posters are actively helping run current political campaigns". I'm guessing he is referring to the two candidates who are running as independents. It's unlikely that Gary Schwab, Bruce Samuels, Julie Samuels or Bob Milstein would be posting anonymously. Whenever they've got something to say; they use their names. Those are the only folks I can think of who are not associated with the VMA.


Posted: April 4th, 2011 2:55 PM

David Pope's first comment to this post makes sense, as far as it goes. I'd like to add, though, that I would also refuse to hire that company for any future construction. I hope that the Board will remember Whitco's shoddy work on the parking garage and avoid hiring or working with them in the future.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 2:45 PM

(cont'd.) In the short term (and particularly around election time) they may be right, but over the long haul I think they're making the wrong choice, not only from a civic responsibility standpoint, but also strategically. I believe that our engaged and educated community would embrace a forum for responsible dialogue. By consciously choosing the sizzle rather than the substance, they seem to be ceding that field of opportunity to some other publication or web vehicle. I guess we'll see.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 2:44 PM

(cont'd.) These attacks demean us as a Village and undermine what we value as a community. They contravene basic tenants of civil dialogue. And they occur here because an ethos of anonymity is encouraged by this site. If all comments were verifiably attributed, civil responsible dialogue would ensue and most ad hominem attacks would cease. WJ seems to have made a calculation that the voyeuristic clicks encouraged by anonymous attacks are more profitable than responsible dialogue. cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 2:41 PM

@ OP Resident - We are in strong agreement regarding the caustic comments to Ms. Rexroat's letter. However, the vitriol on these pages re D97's referendum (from both sides frankly) is coming almost entirely from anonymous posters (who duck all responsibility for their comments). Ms. Rexford herself states the case for verifiable attribution well: "After seeing these comments, by people without their real names, I'm thinking I really would rather not write letters to the Editor anymore." cont'd...

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 1:44 PM

I get that, but how can we put any weight behind your words when you hide behind the screen name too? That's what I was saying.


Posted: April 4th, 2011 1:15 PM

Mrs. O'Shea, I think you are confused. I never called YOU out for being anonymous. I addressed your comment where you support the people who do that which are dissatisfied or disenfranchised. How can someone have a real dialogue with the Village Bd and remain anonymous? Simple put- They can't!

OP Resident  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 12:37 PM

And finally, David Pope. The claim that you know for a fact that "two posters are actively helping run current political campaigns" needs to be proven. I don't know the identities of the folks who post on this forum and am not sure how you were able to obtain these facts. Have you got an inside source at the paper or did they confess to you personally. Please be assured that, "It Ain't Me, Babe". The opposition to the VMA slate seem to be running on a shoestring. No yard signs or ads. Why worry

OP Resident  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 11:58 AM

A true story for David Pope. Several years ago, WJ printed a letter from an Oak Park resident named Eli Spencer that raised questions about Village Attorney Heise. Oak Park's lawyer was so angry that he personally conducted an extensive search of Village records in an effort to gather information about Spencer. No one knew what Heise planned to do with these facts but Village Clerk Sokol & her staff could tell he was on a mission. This tells me that anonymous posts are the safest way to go.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 11:38 AM

We've got David Pope's ear but is he listening? Regarding people posting using their real names, I refer you to the personal attacks directed at Ms. Rexroat. Her letter in support of the referendum resulted in her being subjected to some nasty attacks. There's a reason that millionaire Bruce Wayne did not reveal himself to be Batman.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 11:30 AM

That is really helpful information Mr. Pope. Thank you for taking the time to explain.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:55 AM

(cont'd.) Until we receive and review it, and engage in board deliberations, Board Members (and prospective Board Members) are legally precluded from taking a position without jeopardizing their ability to ultimately vote on the project. Here's a helpful link that begins to clarify the distinction between the Board's legislative and judicial roles: - Kind regards

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:54 AM

(cont'd.) Most of the time the Village Board sits in a legislative capacity. Sometimes, however, it sits in a judicial capacity (as is the case for any Planned Unit Development). In those situations, Board Members are legally required to vote based upon evidence and recommendations presented by the Plan Commission and the Board's own public deliberations. As of now, Board members (& soon to be Board members) have not received the PC report (likely 500-1000 pgs w/ exhibits/appendices). cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:53 AM

@ Patricia - Re: Comcast, you're absolutely right that there are numerous real people posting anonymously regarding the proposal (many of whom presented testimony by name before the Plan Commission). It's a great example, though, of how the two politically-motivated posters cited below leverage other posting activity to criticize Bd. Members and candidates, in this case for not explicitly saying they'll vote "Yes" or "No" (knowing full well that they're legally prevented from doing so). cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:52 AM

@ Patricia - I'm sorry for the negative experience that you had with BPS, and thank you for sharing it (as that's really the best way for Tom and staff to identify breakdowns in service-delivery so those processes can be improved). Regarding the anonymous posts, I know for a fact that two of the posters are using multiple aliases and are actively helping run current political campaigns (that's why they're making the time for all their posting activity).

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:50 AM

what do you know -- Enuf is Enuf and I agree re: his thought that all comments on these pages should be verifiably attributed.


Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:48 AM

I hate to think what this town would look like if all the homes were considered to have a 30 year life span. What a lousy answer to a big problem. If thats the case, the Comcast building should be torn down too.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:33 AM

@Pope ... speaking of facts, please cite your source which states the L/F Garage was designed to last only 30 years. I cannot find any building life cycle standard that assigns only a 30-year service life to a precast concrete multi-level garage. Like any structure, renovation may be scheduled on a 30-year basis, but not replacement. The four public parking garages in OP represent a major capital asset, and it would be senseless to incur these const. costs based upon a 30-year service life.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 10:15 AM

The intent of an online asynchronous public forum is to allow comments to be openly posted for review by others, with equal opportunity to respond in similar fashion, if so desired. Mr. Pope's offer to call him takes the discussion off-line at the exclusion of others, contrary to the openness of the forum. As far as transparency. Mr. Popes criticism needs to be directed to the WJ, which hosts this forum. I advocate for disallowing anonymous posts, but only if they apply to everyone.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 9:42 AM

Oh for the love of Christ! Why are we sinking more and more money to build/fix shelters for metal box pollution machines when we should be encouraging OP/RFer to BIKE or WALK to their local destinations?! I was just riding under the viaduct at Kenniworth yesterday and it's just a hot ball of mess under there with all the potholes. ARGHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 1:02 AM



Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:54 PM

Mrs. O'Shea, If the "anonymous" people are feeling dissatisfied and disenfranchised, then why cant they use their real names and have a real dialogue? Personally I think most of these posters are whiners who clearly don't want to talk with President Pope...or else they would have called him. No?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:40 PM

Please don't punish me for stating my thoughts! I'm only half kidding. It took me over 4 months to get the village to LOOK at new drawings for my house rehab that were drawn up at the Village's request for changes on my original drawings. The delay directly resulted in my living with my parents from months 6-9 of my pregnancy and months 1-3 of my daughters life. And that was before I was vocal in any way! I hate to think of what could happen now considering my vocal opposition to Comcast.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:35 PM

As another who posts under my own name....I have to say, Mr. Pope, your post sounds kind of paranoid....either that or over confident. I'm willing to bet that the people dialoging on these comments pages are not 2-3 people posting under aliases. People typically just don't have that much free time these days. I think you should consider the opposite. That people are truly feeling dissatisfied and disenfranchised.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:05 PM

(cont'd.) Additionally, dialogue would force them to rely on facts. As I'm sure you've noted, actual facts are not high on their priority list. In fact they sort of undermine the Karl Rove Jr. aspect of their efforts. They are entirely geared to undermine confidence in Village gov't. so as to advance a political end. These 2-3 folks are actively involved in a current campaign, and we can only hope that, win or lose, come Wednesday they'll direct their energies to something more positive.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:04 PM

(cont'd.) The 2-3 folks behind these posts aren't interested in real discussion. Further, phoning me directly would result in transparency and dialogue, two things these 2-3 folks desperately don't want. Transparency forces them to abandon their current approach of anonymously attacking innocent parties while avoiding any responsibility, and it undermines their carefully orchestrated veneer of a larger "movement", exposing them for the 2-3 ignorant attack artists that they really are. cont'd...

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 11:03 PM

Hi Dan. Thanks for the verification. It's a waste of time to ask these folks to call me. Of the 27 theoretical posters (and 54 comments) only 4 of us use our real names. Regardless of our various perspectives (sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't), I greatly respect John Murtagh and Gary Schwab for using their real names. The key point is that 2-3 other people masquerade as most of the rest (using the aliases here as phantoms - which WJ can easily verify via email/IP-tracking). cont'd...

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 10:21 PM

If David Pope is David Pope then who is OP?

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 5:57 PM

Folks-- I'm pretty sure that's the real David Pope. At least that is the cell number I call him at. Give it a try. He doesn't bite. Dan Haley


Posted: April 3rd, 2011 5:16 PM

Gary, The Village DIDNT PUT any CASH in the Oak Park Apts projects. There are deals done with municipalities and developers ALL the time. Not a new concept. (maybe to you) Just ask your ex running mate Kathyrn Jonas who knows from her profession. Oak Park Apts IS a success. Trader Joes IS a success!! Its time to move on from your bickering about the past. Its here and now and lets all get out and VOTE on Tuesday April 5th 2011.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 1:44 PM

I'm also pretty sure that, if the Village had given Sy Taxman his deal, we'd be wondering when another large tax subsidy might be recovered, or whether that might ever really happen.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 1:38 PM

I do know that, because of changes in the way rental properties get assessed in Cook County, even if Whiteco was fully rented as projected and hadn't lost value due to the "recession," the project would be paying around half the taxes projected. I think just that would make it take twice as long for taxpayers' money to be recovered. I believe the Village had more actual cash in Whiteco than did Mr. White & associates.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 1:32 PM

According to the Village's own consultants, the Goldberg Arcade (Colt) Building had absolutely no structural problems after over 70 years. As for the buildings demolished being historic, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the VMA's own Historic Preservation Commission said so at various times. If Trustee Johnson and his friends had tax numbers from Whiteco to brag of, I think we'd have heard them.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 12:57 PM

James has a good idea. Let's name every boondoggle project in our Village's history after the elected offical deemed responsible. Will he invite Joanne Tripani to return to Oak Park as we honor her legacy that is the OP-RF HS parking garage? Should there be a a sign on Lake St. that reads: "Village Attorney Ray Heise presents Tasty Dog"? We'll need to do something special for Sara Bode and her dreamland that became the Oak Park Mall. Who do we salute for the screwy deal on the library garage?

OP Resident  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 12:42 PM

John Murtagh is right, again! No way this is Village President David Pope posting on this forum. The cell phone number provided is a dead giveaway that this is a hoax. Oak Park officials offer a Village Hall telephone number or e-mail address to a resident seeking info or wishing to discuss an issue. That's how Ray Johnson has responded on countless occasions. I have no idea who is posting as David Pope but am sure the real guy would want the fake guy to cut it out. WJ should block the fraud.


Posted: April 2nd, 2011 11:50 PM

You're right Gary and if you and your cabal wouldn't have tried to pass that Styrofoam framed building off as historic it would be producing taxes today. Again you take no blame for that parking lot, it should be dubbed the Gary Schwab memorial parking lot in your honor.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 11:25 PM

OK, we need an investigation of whether the David Pope that appeared here today is the real David Pope. I am not sure that asking the WJ to investigate will do any good, so I think we need to try and solve the mystery. My theory is that the David Pope "pretender" in today's posts is really OP. Or OP is the Real David Pope. Consider their writing. Everything in the village is perfect! They constantly feel like they are under attack! The VMA is their Mother Ship. Who knows, maybe I am wrong!

OP Resident  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:51 PM

Still not buying that our Village President is posting comments on this topic. The Wednesday Journal should be able to confirm or deny that we are actually hearing from David Pope.


Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:44 PM

Thank You President Pope for addressing the relevant issues regarding this incomplete article. You are to be commended and recognized for your attention and diligence in which you serve this Great Village. Again Thank You.


Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:40 PM

I think its a shame that the WJ didnt bother contacting ANYONE at Village Hall because of a Friday time line. At this point, the story is only online??? Which means there is no dead line until Tuesday to make the Wed paper. Confusing.


Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:36 PM

For once Gary Schwab is CORRECT. He admits to NOT KNOWING ANY OF THE CURRENT FACTS regarding the Oak Park Apartments/ Trader Joes. Thank You Gary for your honesty. The only request I have for you and every other whiner with out any of the facts is to STOP whining about something YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT- in your own words.

Communications consultant  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:29 PM

Mr. Pope, if you would like to take my course, "interacting with constituents online with success", I'm available for hire!

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 7:58 PM

Yes, Trader Joe's is paying sales tax. How do the tax projections made when this project was being pushed compare with actuals? How long will it really take for taxpayers to recover their investment in this project? I'd really like to see analyses from the Village and from someone less "involved." The commercial buildings on the "Colt" and surrounding sites were occupied and paying more taxes than an empty lot once, too.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 7:53 PM

Painting over structural cracks isn't a mistake. It's a "coverup" in the most literal sense of the word. It's a deception, like many others which allowed the Whiteco project to proceed. Who would realistically expect the Village to be impartial in supervising and inspecting the work of a business "partner" they'd worked so hard to sell us? Also, would those who keep saying the Whiteco project is a success provide some actual evidence? Yes, it's paying more property tax than would an empty lot.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 6:12 PM

Holley Court Garage was built in 1986. Using Mr. Pope's 30-year service life rule, it needs to be replaced in 2016. Instead, the village renovated this garage in 2007, as per consultant Desman Assoc. The 100 Forest Place private garage was built in 1986 of similar design, size and const. as L/F Garage, and is in excellent condition. In 2002, Desman Assoc. recommended that L/F Garage be renovated to extend its service life, which the village declined, allowing it to deteriorate instead.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 5:47 PM

David Pope Quote to OakPark "You also want to shoot at it, and at the Village, at every opportunity (particularly prior to Tuesday's election). Fine. Everyone understands that too." I have to believe it was not OakPark on his mind when he wrote his comments. But clearly David Pope had the election on his mind when he posted five responses. Is David afraid that he might have a village board composed of only six VMA seats and not a unanimous seven? David complaint is over the top.

j.oak park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 4:56 PM

@David Pope, I am sorry and I did not read the post clearly. I am not sure why poster "oak park" brought the lake forest garage into this discussion, but they did and you were responding to that. Again, sorry and I was wrong. It does beg the questions: how old is the Holley Court garage and what is it's expected useful life?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 4:07 PM

Mr. Pope ... please cite the document that states the L/F garage was intended to last only 30 years. Like any structure, the L/F garage was designed to last indefinitely given proper maintenance and repair. According to a consultant's report for the L/F garage (2002), the village neglected to provide "protective treatment designed to safeguard the structure from the damaging effects of moisture, freeze-thaw cycles and chloride ions, resulting in premature deterioration." This is gross negligence.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 2:44 PM

@Tom -- if you really want to discuss (or just call me a liar directly), call me on my cell at 312-498-6001. I've posted this a number of times in the past, but never get any calls. Why? B/c it's generally understood that many of these anonymous tirades (and even some that are falsly attributed) are actually posts from the same 2 or 3 people who are solely interested in tearing down the Village and/or advancing certain political interests or candidates. How about you Tom, are you real?

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 2:25 PM

Hi Tom. The reporter is well aware of these facts. I can't account for why he didn't include all of them (his phone # is 708-613-3311 if you want to ask him). He did not call me (or apparently any of the village Trustees or the Village Manager) for a comment on this specific story. When I asked him about that, he told me he was hurrying to get it done late Friday afternoon but he'd follow up with me on Monday in time for Wednesday's print edition.

Tom Smith  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 1:58 PM

@David Pope, why did you not tell the reporter that you are exploring legal options against Whiteco considering that they managed and oversaw the construction of the garage? It does not say that anywhere in the article. Maybe you are lying yet again, which you do with regular frequency. Or, maybe you are just being your normal pompous arrogant self-righteous person that you really are.

Maggie from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 11:16 AM

Where is our Village Attorney. Probably dancing around as he usually does without giving a straight answer. If he is any kind of an intelligent business man, he should be able to contact the builders. Be strong and forceful and demand the contractor to be responsible. Village should not pay one cent for repairs. We give to many financial incentives to developers to do terrible jobs. Is this what is going to be what the supposed Hotel at Lake and Forest going to be

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 11:00 AM

@J.Oak Park -- re-read the posts below. The 30 year projection and dates were for the Lake/Forest garage, not the Holley Court garage. The Holley Court garage is the one that had the expansion, and that is cited in this story, not the Lake/Forest garage. As is the case for several other folks who regularly comment on these pages, you may want to be a bit more careful with your facts before you start blasting people. Kind regards.

keep it simple  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:59 AM

Ray Johnson bad blame pope VMA

keep it simple  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:58 AM

Pope - bad - blame

keep it simple  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:58 AM


keep it simple  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:58 AM

Wouldn't is just be easier when things like this come up in the Village to just post comments like, "VMA" "Pope" "Ray Johnson" "Gary Balling" "TIF" the context is irrelevant. We all know the drill. Corrupt, no transparency, mismanaged, in bed with the yourself some typing time. Here, I will demonstrate...

OP Resident  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:57 AM

I don't think this is our Village President posting as "David Pope from Oak Park". He's too smart and too slick. If President Pope really wanted to comment on a subject; he'd just the call the Journal.

epic lulz  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:52 AM

Disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, Pope and the VMA are not just running away as quickly as possible from taking any responsibility for their failure to adequately oversee their pet signature project, but they mock anyone who tries to hold them accountable. Is that responsible governance? Undoubtedly the tax payer will once again be on the hook for their failures. I hope everyone keeps that in mind when they vote on Tuesday.

J.Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:31 AM

So, the garage has a useful life of 30 years and that time has come, or as it seems, has passed. Someone then thinks a good idea is to build/add onto it? How is that smart? Why does that decision not deserve criticism? So what is the solution? Spend 750k to fix something that should come down because it is at the end of it's useful life? I look forward to an answer from Mr. Pope.


Posted: April 2nd, 2011 10:02 AM

OMG...Tom Scharre said that there are SNAKES in that falling down, unsafe garage, too! If they die from a snakebite or the garage collapsing then Tyler and Madison will never get to the Ivy League even if the referendum passes. No BRAVO, snakes, collapsing garages...what the hell is happening to my perfect life in Oak Park! WAIT...can I still shop at Trader Joe's? Or do I need a snakebite kit just to be sure? Is the Lake Theatre safe? Wait...are we boycotting them still? OMG!!

Tom Scharre  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 9:48 AM

This garage does seem snakebit. Prior to this latest significant snafu, I recall there was an earlier problem. The floor of the new garage did not align with the floor of the existing garage -- so some sort of "fix" was cobbled together in order to make the whole thing workable. Clearly, someone -- and, in all likelihood, several someones -- was asleep at the switch. And that's putting the most benign spin possible on it.

Judge Judy  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 9:39 AM

I don't agree with Mr. Pope on a lot things but he's right about this parking garage issue. Criticizing EVERYTHING the Village does is not very credible.

Sick of Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 9:33 AM

All I had to read was 13.4 million dollars spent. I cringe every time I drive down the "art district" knowing they spent over a million dollars on those entry statues. Now they want to increase our taxes to save teachers, lower our values of our homes by adding low income housing. What is wrong with this town!

Live or Memorex? from OP  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 9:25 AM

Is "David Pope from Oak Park" the actual David Pope? Or just a cleverly named sock puppet? His points are fascinating...but is he actually just a disgruntled grandmother? A bored teenager? An angry man with a hangover? You be the judge.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 9:10 AM

@Oak Park -- Sorry, but your just flat out wrong re: Lake/Forest garage (the original projected life was 30 years, and it's obviously exceeded that at this point). Re Whiteco, they obviously had satisfactory qualifications & construction experience with similar projects. You don't like the project. Fine. We've all figured that out by now. You also want to shoot at it, and at the Village, at every opportunity (particularly prior to Tuesday's election). Fine. Everyone understands that too.

Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 8:15 AM

What Mr. Pope is neglecting to say, is that a competent owner would have provided due diligence in the initial selection of the roofer; per qualifications, experience, expertise, etc., as well as quality control during const. Instead, the village partnered up with Whiteco and deferred responsibility to them, even though public funding was being used. And BTW, the Lake/Forest parking garage was designed to last much longer than 35 years, and has deteriorated only because of village negligence.

Village resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 5:42 AM

I hope Mr. Pope is right. The original builder should pay for the repairs. I hope that happens. I work for the county and have seen contractors get out of things like this all the time with some lame excuse why it happened and then claim no responsibility. Please let us know Mr. Pope if They pay for the repairs.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 1:05 AM

If you re-roofed your house, expecting 35 years, but you had a leak after three, what would you do? Well, you'd call the original roofer. Check. You'd likely also have a different roofer take a look. Check. You'd have the new roofer propose a near term repair. Check. And possibly a long-term fix. Check. You'd tell the original roofer that they would be paying the bill for all this. Check. And you'd explore legal options just in case. Check. So exactly what else should OP be doing in this case?


Posted: April 1st, 2011 10:53 PM

Who's the bufoon who thinks its the VMA's fault? Now that is funny. I mean really funny. I cant stop laughing. Whiteco is a huge success. Can you say TAX dollars? Thank You. Its simple to me. Whoever designed/built the faulty part are responsible for fixing it.

Another Frustrated Tax Payer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 10:40 PM

Are you kidding me? I hope this an April Fools joke. How could there be such a foolish display of gross incompetence? I can't get a water heater, an alarm, a fence, a garage, or (technically) new windows without a permit and yet we can't seem to make sure a public garage remodel is safe!

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:57 PM

Next development to go the board for a friendly review is the Madison Avenue Housing Proposal. Cost of Comcast Renovation - $15-$20M! Cost per unit housing built (51 450sq ft. rooms) $300,000 to $400,000! Rent $706. Cost to village - $0. Cost to Taxpayers - $15M-20M. How can this be? The full cost is paid by the Fed. Village Standard on zoning, etc. to date -- none. Length of contract with Gov. 40 years! Is this Whiteco Jr.?

OP Resident  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:40 PM

I'm not buying the claim that a Village inspector "basically asked for a bribe". An improperly installed water heater poses significant risks to the homeowner. There's no way an inspector would jeopardize their job and innocent lives for a few dollars. There has never been a hint of corrupton involving Oak Park inspectors.

Even Stevens  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 6:11 PM

$1M savings from a D97 pay freeze - $1M cost to fix the garage.

J.Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:48 PM

Gosh, it was too long ago when some VMA suck up was claiming Whiteco a success for the VMA... where are you now? come sing the praises of the VMA... at a dollar a tune you have 750,000 songs to sing!too many sour notes in the VMA anthem, in my opinion.

Alberg from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:40 PM

When the architect and the developer are in bed together - and the Village Inspectors are looking the other way, what do you expect. Oak Park isn't as far from Chicago as we'd like to think. If you don't vote for a real "change", you deserve what you get. We need new leadership - and the inspectors should be fired.

epic lulz  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:35 PM

The costs for the repair should be split between the developer and those clowns at the VMA. Hey, WJ, find out when the thing was painted so we can know exactly how soon after construction was completed that the whole thing began to fall apart.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:14 PM

Just have them put in some more of those metal screw jacks- they are as good as duct tape. Good thing Whiteco is such a good company- lets see if that plays out.

High Standards from oak park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:07 PM

@Typical Oak Park: Yup, I skipped over the annoying early part of the process. Permits, drawings (for a water heater!), and lots of waiting! But, apparently, if Whiteco is involved all of the rules go out the window....and, of course, Oak Park taxpayers will end up paying for our Village's ongoing lack of a clue. Absolutely disgusting! This village gets harder to live in every single day!

Typical Oak Park! from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 4:51 PM

Didn't you have to apply for a permit, show drawings and wait, wait, wait for someone with a brain to approve your water heater? And the new question is, guess who is going to pay for this?!!!!

High Standards (or something) from oak park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 4:44 PM

I mean, seriously? I couldn't put in a new water heater in my own home in this village without getting an inspection from the village (and the inspector basically asked for a bribe, to boot!)...I guess either this garage was never inspected by the village or the bribe was much, much bigger! Nice standards we have here...

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